The last in my series of post-fight interviews with the fighters from the recent XFC 8 event comes from Chris Barnett. Barnett, fighting out of Team XFC, made his pro debut against veteran Johnathan Ivey (27-39). Barnett scored a unanimous decision win over Ivey who spent a fair amount of time in the fight taunting his opponent. Barnett impressed me, not only in his dominating victory over such an experienced opponent, but also in his athletic ability. Even as a Heavyweight, he was throwing various jumping spin kicks and flying knees among other things. I caught up with Barnett after the event to speak with him about his first MMA win – Barnett jumped straight to the pros – no amateur MMA fights were reported on his record.
You can find the interview after the jump.
(Barnett is in the black and camo trunks, Ivey in white - Pics from Brawl and Maul's event album.)
FightTicker: First pro win tonight, a decision win over Johnathan Ivey, who taunted you a lot throughout the fight - and I’ll tell you what man, you’re pretty athletic for a big guy – how were you feeling going into the fight?
Chris Barnett: [Laughs] Going into the fight, what really had me motivated was that I was being extremely humble and then in an interview out of nowhere he [Ivey] started talking [smack], so I was like, “Okay,” and that was extreme motivation, and I’ve seen some of his fights on YouTube where he tried the crane kick and what not, so I was expecting some kind of antics. I wanted to make sure I could establish control somewhat and then put the show on for the crowd. I want to thank the Tennessee [athletic] Commission for letting me take this fight against a guy who has so many fights. It was a rush. I’ve never been calm in the cage like that before where I felt I was controlling the situation like that.
FT: What’s next for you?
Barnett: I’m supposed to have a fight in Santa Barbara on the 22nd [of May] just depending on the management talking it through. Anything they throw at me I’m ready to take on.
FT: In the promo for the fight, it said you have a background in Tae Kwon Do. Obviously that’s not a style you see a lot of in MMA – how useful has that proven for you?
Barnett: A lot. There’s two different types of TKD. There’s point sparring and there’s WTF. I was more the Olympic/WTF style of TKD. The Olympic style sparring you see isn’t so much point [sparring] and stop. So a lot of the fighters, you see them throw leg kicks and they’re more sloppy with their style but a lot of the fighters have a better overall game. With the whole fight game, I like being able to add my kicks. You’re not expecting someone from 265 to be kicking like that. Just being able to throw TKD in there has helped me a whole bunch, the balance and flexibility, stuff like that.
FT: You came out in a Brawl and Maul shirt tonight – are they one of your sponsors?
Barnett: No, but I’m trying to get on [smiles].
It was an impressive showing by Barnett in his pro debut. He really showed a solid MMA skill set – crisp striking, good kicks, trying to work a submission game on the ground, and a good wrestling base as well. I’m looking forward to his next few fights to see how he evolves with even more training.
(Originally posted on FightTicker.com)